While based in Salta, I took two other day trips in the more standard bus tour format. We did a day trip south to Cafayate and then another day trip north to Jujuy and Humahuaca.
The day trip to Cafayate included beautiful desert and canyon landscapes on the way from Salta. Side note: After taking this trip and realizing how much I liked it, I said to myself “Man... I wish we had something similar to this in the US” and then realized we do, the US Southwest. I think trips to other countries make you realize that you don’t always need to travel thousands of miles for experiences. Sometimes something similar is in your own backyard (in my case, the US) and you just need to get out and explore. It inspired the trip I took a few years later to the Grand canyon and Antelope slot canyons in Arizona (which were unbelievable).
During the Cafayate trip, we walked into a natural amphitheater in the Quebrada de las Canchas. Off the road, you see some rock formations and an opening in them. Once you walk in, you’re surrounded by rock which make some awesome acoustics. It’s very surreal hearing the music and sitting inside rock formations. The complementary mix of human and nature to makesomething beautiful. I loaded a quick 40 second clip of the experience on youtube. https://youtu.be/RR2ut5OjBEE
On the way back, we visited a few wineries since Cafayate is also famous for its wine. I'm not a wine connoisseur so I can't really give much insight for how the taste differs from Mendoza. I'll just say it tasted good to me.
The day trip to Jujuy and Humahuaca included some experiences I won’t forget. The memory that sticks with me the most was when we were still on the bus and arrived in Humahuaca. When we arrived, a local tour guide came onto the bus and started to explain the history and significance of the town. The accent in Humahuaca is known for flowing similar to singing. So when the guide was speaking, it sounded like a gentle song. I speak minimal spanish and the lady in the row next to me spoke minimal/no spanish. However she just started crying while he was speaking and she said she didn’t even know what he was saying but the accent and flow of the words he was speaking just was so beautiful that it was really emotional. We hadn’t even stepped off the bus yet, and the town already had an impact on us. Humahuaca is a small town nestled under these awesome rainbow colored hills. So as you walk through the streets, you look up and just see these vibrant colors all around.
The trip to Salta was so different than any trip I've been on before. It opened my perspective up a bit more and made me excited to find more places that would completely surprise me. I was hooked on exploring new places now!